Julia Spencer-Fleming here, with a guest post by my friend, fellow law-school classmate, and writing aficionado Brenda Buchanan. Are you a writer – published or unpublished – living in Maine? Have you spent the winter bundled up in front of the fire, working on that manuscript? Brenda, one of the directors of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, wants to tell you it’s:
TIME TO SHED THE FLEECE AND START SCHMOOZING
Here’s a quick rundown of May happenings, followed by an informal survey that will win one commenter a swell prize.
From May 3 – 6, the Black Fly Writers Retreat will be held at the Shoreline Camps in beautiful Grand Lake Stream (Hooray
Washington County!) Here’s a link to the venue so you can check out the natural beauty that will feed the muse: http://www.shorelinecamps.com/
Monica Wood, author of the ABA bestseller Any Bitter Thing and the much-anticipated When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine, due out in July, will be conducting a hands-on class on writing memoir. (Monica’s advice: “come prepared to write, write, write!”)
The versatile Cynthia Thayer, whose thriller A Brief Lunacy follows on the success of A Certain Slant of Light and her amazing first novel, Strong for Potatoes, will teach fiction for beginning and experienced writers. Cynthia’s class will culminate with interactive workshopping of participants’ manuscripts.
Writers who aren’t inclined to participate in a workshop but want some studio time away from the kids/household chores/cell phone are welcome as well.
Oh, and don’t fret about the black fly thing. The Maine Black Fly Report (there really is such a thing, check out http://mainenature.org/black-fly-reports/black-fly-info/) indicates early May is a dite early for the blackflies to be biting that far Downeast. Do you agree, Sarah Graves?
On Thursday May 31 in Portland, writers and readers will be raising a glass at the Maine Literary Awards gala, where crime writers are competing in a dedicated category this year. Ten crime novels published in 2011 were entered in this year’s contest. The winners will be announced that night. In addition to crime fiction, there are a bunch of other categories, including this year’s other new
niches – memoir, speculative fiction and Maine-themed non-fiction. The party starts at 7:00 p.m. on the top floor at USM’s Glickman Library. There’ll be food, drink and plenty of schmoozing to go around.
Finally, the survey.
This summer or fall, MWPA plans to offer a seminar specifically for crime writers. To help MWPA design a winning program, please use the comments section to let us know what would be most attractive to you. Crime Writing 101 or a roll-up-your sleeves intensive? One day or two? If two, consecutive or not? Weekdays or weekends? Greater Portland/greater Bangor/greater Lewiston?
Feel free to make suggestions you think will be helpful or inspiring. Commenters will be eligible to win an autographed copy of the book that wins the inaugural Maine Literary Award for excellence in crime writing. In the spirit of spring and its possibilities, we’ll pull a name from a Red Sox ball cap next week and get you the book once the winner is known.
MWPA programs are open to members and non-members. We offer a sliding scale membership fee. Members get a price break on programs. For more information about MWPA, email email@example.com, call 207-228-8264 or go to www.mainewriters.org.
Brenda Buchanan sits on MWPA’s Board of Directors. She is hard at work polishing a novel about murder and well-kept secrets in a Maine mill town. Her Twitter handle is @buchananbrenda and she blogs at http://brendabuchanan.blogspot.com/